Dec 10th, 2018, 10:56 PM

The FDA Cracks Down on Juul

By Joan Jessiman
Image Credit: Zach Kronsnoble
Juul gives in to the FDA and discontinues the sale of certain e-cigarette flavors in stores.

This past month, Juul, the United States top electronic cigarette manufacturer, announced it will stop selling certain ‘pod’ flavors after giving in to the FDA. The Food and Drug Administration put major pressure on the company to stop the sales of its fruity flavored ‘pods’ that entice underage kids to smoke. The fruit flavored pods will still be sold online with stricter age authentication measures, as well as mint, tobacco, and menthol flavor sold in stores. Effects of this change are already in place both on their website and in United States stores.

The San Francisco-based company Juul is the current top seller of electronic cigarettes with its worth close to 15 billion. The Juul is the name of their electronic cigarette that closely resembles a USB drive and is being referred to as the “iPhone of vapes” for its minimalistic and sleek look. The Juul itself is very user-friendly with simple ‘pods’ that snap into place, and a charger that can be connected to any USB port.

 


Different Juul "pod" flavored cartridges. Image Credit: Juul 

The amount of people using electronic cigarettes or ‘vaping’ has increased immensely in the past few years. The Juul was created to be a sleek device to be used by adult smokers that want to quit smoking cigarettes or are looking for an equivalent vaping product. The problem with the Juul is that its small, looks like a hard drive and that the fun flavored pods are accessible to underage kids. Recently schools have been putting bans on Juul use as well as schools confiscating the devices from underage kids using them in classrooms and bathrooms. According to the website, some, “3.6 million people under 18 reported using e-cigarettes.” (New York Times) The FDA argues that the fruity flavored pods such as mango, cherry, and cucumber are enticing and encouraging kids to buy and use them.

 New Juul website ID verification. Image Credit: Juul

The FDA reached out to five electronic cigarette companies in order to enforce stricter consumption and sale of their products. Juul plans to continue the sale of their tobacco products including the flavors “mint, tobacco and menthol flavors for its devices in retail stores.” (Juul) In regards to the change of flavors sold, the FDA stated to The New York Times, “we hope that in the next 90 days, manufacturers choose to remove flavored pods where kids can access them from online sites that do not sufficiently robust age-verification procedures.”

In addition to the stopping of the sale of certain flavors in stores, Juul has shut down their expansive social media accounts. The company stated that “it would shut down its Facebook and Instagram accounts in the United States that promoted the use of the flavored pods.” (Juul) Because of social media, kids today feel the need to fit in and do what's ‘cool.’ The problem with kids that begin vaping in middle and high school is that their brains aren't developed yet and they're more susceptible to nicotine addiction. It’s said that kids that use electronic cigarettes at a young age are more likely to graduate to smoking real tobacco cigarettes. (Bloomberg)

Juul social media. Image Credit: Juul

Because Juul has been under these recent pressures they have not only deleted their social media platforms but also have updated their website. The Juul website has undergone a change in their screening process for online purchases. The company stated it would “improve its online age-verification system to ensure buyers are 21 or older” as well as saying “they will add a real-time photo requirement to match buyers face against an uploaded government issued ID.” (Juul)  

Peacock Plume reached out to some avid Juul users to see how this news would affect their vaping habits. Former AUP student Elizabeth Nguyen Son when speaking about how she will now get her Juul pods to France replied, "I'll have to have someone order them because I'm a non-US resident. I can't actually get access to the online store because I only have a French ID. I will buy pods in bulk when I travel to America." Current AUP Junior Constance Caiola was upset by the news saying, "I really like the mango flavored pods and it's going to be much harder to get them now." The lack of availability of pods didn't seem to have much effect on people that order them online. Those who purchase a Juul or any of its pod cartridges in stores will now have to go through a much more thorough screening process.

Image Credit/Quote: Juul